I really hate saying that, but it’ll be true. Why? Because we’ll all compare them to the iPad.

The real problem will be two fold: Microsoft and Windows 7.

Yes, Win7 is a great improvement over Vista, is too big.  Windows is too many things to too many people, used for too many purposes.  It’s exactly what it needs to be though – a general purpose operating system.  That is the very thing that makes it inappropriate for tablets, er excuse me, “slates”.

Secondly, Microsoft is interested in catching up, but they’re going to hamper the non-iPad tablet efforts in the market simply by being themselves.  For the corporate customers, it’ll be another hardware choice that they get to support – !$@&! yay!

The reality is that a true tablet needs to do the basics quickly, easily, and reliably.  That’s messaging, browsing, viewing, reading, and probably listening.  Anything more than that is overburdening the system.

While we can debate whether the iPad does this well or not, the point I’m making is that Microsoft and their partners can’t compete in this market if Windows and/or Microsoft specifications are in the mix.

By the way, Microsoft has been down the tablet/slate road twice before. Windows Tablet PC was first and Ultra Mobile PC (UMPC) was the other one, like the picture above of an Asus R2H Ultra Mobile PC from November 2006.

Photo credit: Josh Bancroft

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